Carrick has never been able to hold down a place in the England team. PA WIRE

One great stat highlights just how strange this Man United player's England career has been

If nothing else, you have to admire Michael Carrick’s longevity.

HOW IS IT possible for a player to have a longer international career than David Beckham but less caps than Kieron Dyer?

That is the strange sort of purgatory that Michael Carrick’s international career exists in. Remarkably, the Manchester United midfielder debuted in 2001 in Sven-Goran Eriksson’s first game in charge and last weekend he played against Lithuania in a Euro 2016 qualifier, winning his 32nd cap.

Former Newcastle and Ipswich midfielder Dyer won 33 caps in nine years and Shaun Wright Phillips received 36 in six.

The fact that the 4-0 win at Wembley was Carrick’s first international game in 17 months sums up the stop-start nature of his time in an England shirt. He has only played one game at a major tournament for England despite winning caps across a 14-year period. David Beckham managed to squeeze 115 caps into a slightly shorter 13-year time-frame.

He is like football’s version of former Irish rugby international Mick Galwey, who somehow managed to never play in a World Cup despite winning 41 caps over 11 years.

Despite being rated by Alex Ferguson as one of Europe’s top midfielders a succession of England managers haven’t deemed him worthy of a starting place, instead preferring Scott Parker and Gareth Barry among others.

And if Carrick does get onto the field at Euro 2016, he will be the first Englishman to win caps 15 years apart since goalkeeper Peter Shilton.

Shilton made his debut for England in 1970… and didn’t retire for another 20 years. So while Carrick hasn’t always been an automatic in the England side, the fact that he has outlasted so many of his contemporariness should give him some comfort.

Although once again, he has played for England longer than Beckham but has less appearances than one of the most injury-prone players in Premier League history.

Crazy stuff.

H/T to Goal for the stats.

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